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Archive for April, 2011

Gig#3 Michigan Brewing Co, Lansing Mi

The Michigan Brewing Company in Lansing, MI
This was an Open Mic Night. There is normally a host band or just a guitar player/singer.
I’m not sure where to start. Kim and I picked up neighbors Judy and Harv and headed for the gig. My buddy Tom was already there. Sitting with him was my old buddy Chris and a couple of his friends. Chris has jammed with Tom and I from time to time over the years. Chris is an excellent guitar player both acoustic and electric and can really tear it up playing the blues. To see Chris in action, navigate to the Gig #3 videos tab and catch Chris in action at this gig. Chris also plays drums and a little later in the night he did just that during my Jam. Our friends Tami and Sue also came out to cheer me on.
My intention was to get to this gig early, do my 4 or 5 songs then maybe a beer and hit the road but it didn’t quite go down that way. It was finally my turn at the start of the 3rd set. The drummer Wayne let Chris take over the drums for most of my set. Kerry was on bass, two guys on harmonica, a guy on trumpet and a guy on electric guitar. I started out at the mic saying “how can I follow the previous acts and proceeded to drop down to my knees in the middle of the floor, leaned way back like I was tearing up a lick. I received a lot of laughs and lot of people took pictures. Check out Gig #3 video titled Jamming on the floor stunt for the show. I started out with Brown Eyed Girl. The amp I was playing through was far from ideal to play an acoustic guitar through and it was very difficult to hear myself over the drums and bass. I’m not complaining, just trying to keep it real explaining my experience. Everything lyrically was good except for my inability to hit the high note. 
I had been trying to work it out this past week but blew it. Kerry signaled me to hand off the lead to the other players like you would do on a blues jam, which I did. Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves. We played Margaritaville and The Life next. I found out that The Life is not a good song for a jam band. I had my suspicions before we started and not sure why I started playing this one. I’m guessing because I knew the words well and can play it under just about any pressure. Over the last several days I had practiced songs that I thought would sound good for this type of open mic but opted out of playing them because there wasn’t anywhere to put my book with the words in case I were to stumble up.
After my 4 songs, Kerry asked me to stay up and play a few more which I reluctantly did. Reluctantly because I was struggling with my inexperience of this moment.
All and all, it was good. Good to be there with friends, good to work through the unfamiliar and good to be playing.
Looking forward to the next one,

Set List
The Life
Brown eyed Girl

Gig #2 Michigan Brewing Co, Lansing Mi


This was an Open Mic Night. There is normally a host band or just a guitar player/singer.  I was the first one there to play. The Host, Kerry, was setting up and told me I could play in a few minutes – I told him to go ahead because I wanted to drink a beer first. Kerry on electric guitar and Wayne on drums played 4 blues tunes. He finished his last song and asked me if I was ready to play. I responded yes.  The place was about three quarters full; a few families, and it looked like the other patrons might have recently got off work and meeting friends for food and drink. I started with The Life by Kenny Chesney, a safe one to start with and one of my favorites. Again, my strumming was tight, I don’t mean “good” tight, I mean it felt like l had less coordination and a small weight attached to my arm – but not as bad as it was last Saturday at the Log Jam during my first song. The sound quality seemed pretty good, especially for the vocal, but after listening back on the video (posted on this page and the videos page) I could have sang a little louder. One more note on sound. Depending on the arrangement of the sound equipment, it seems the majority of the time, due to the limited space, the speakers are out in front of the performer so it is very difficult to hear yourself play and sing because everything sounds very bassey. I finished the first song and started the second song “Margaritaville”, with a little bit of nervous sweat. Kerry the host backed me up on bass and Wayne on drums. This immediately changed the experience for me. I had jammed with other people before but only on guitar, never drums and a bass. This was fun! All of a sudden a lot of the pressure was off. I just had to adjust my timing a little bit and work-it together with them. With these guys filling in I was able to concentrate a little more on my vocals and it sounded good to me. One more thing worth mentioning, from the stage or performance area, one can see everything that is going on in the venue. This is really cool because you can see how people respond to what they are hearing and you can kind of read what they like… just good to take note of these things.
I played 2 more songs then my time was up. The applause at the end was pretty good. My buddy Tom videotaped some of the gig and has posted it to my blog.  Dave and Deb came out from Grand Ledge to give their support. Thanks, – I hope you know how much I appreciate it.  I plan on retuning to this gig again next Monday. I think I will try a few more upbeat tunes. It should be more fun with the bass and drums to back me up.
Looking forward to the next one,

Set List
The Life
People Are Crazy

Gig #1 The Log Jam, Grand Ledge Mi

Chip Christy allowed me to play on his breaks. The first song I played was Come Monday by Jimmy Buffett. I was more nervous than usual for some reason. I think maybe it was because in my head I knew I was kicking off this project and that alone could have been the problem or maybe it was because I only had half a beer when normally I would have thrown back a few by the time I was up. I had recently read that dehydration is hell on the vocal cords, so alcohol is a singers enemy because it dries up the vocal cords, but so are nerves. So the lesson learned is that it may be good for me to have one or two to calm the nerves depending on the gig. This really is probably not good advice and it is probably best to just keep playing a practicing and working your way through it. Definitely bad advice if you’re under 21. I just had to say it because it was a bar gig. One more thing to add about drinking too much and trying to perform. I have found that after drinking a lot that my vocal range goes to hell. Obviously this can really limit your selection of songs that you can play from your repituar. And if you are not aware of this, you may not be doing yourself any justice especially if some of the people in the crowd aren’t as tanked up as you are. You may look like an ass. Back to the nerves problem. It was actually difficult to strum the guitar smoothly. It was a struggle, but you just have to keep working through it and know that it will get easier as you go, which it always does. I think the second or third song was Margaritaville again by JB. This went much better. I’ve played this song hundreds of times, it’s an easy song to play and sing and is always one that I play for people. It would probably be best to play 2 or 3 songs that I know well just to get things rolling, but with the time limit between sets I don’t just want to play the same old songs. I want to show the variety of songs that I can play so hence Tim’s 52 gigs. Just got to keep pushing on and working through it.  

I had a lot of support. I lot of good friends came out to see me. I never want to sound conceded when I thank them for coming out because I know they are there to see Chip too, but I whole heartedly appreciate all of their support and I want them to know this. So thanks again for the support. I met a friend of Don C’s, John, very nice to meet and talk to you – hope you get that bass. Jim and Dan, always good to see you guys, I’m looking forward to the next Grand Ledge St. Patricks’ Day Parade golf scramble fund raiser. And in the pictures are a bunch of my friends. Thanks Kim for taking the pictures and your support.
Looking forward to the next one,

Set List
Come Monday
People Are Crazy
Norwegian Wood
Small Town
What Do You Want
Turn The Page

Gig #52 (Success Feel Good)

Gig #52


Gig #52, “Success”

The Gig (The final Gig):

It was a blast and the place was packed.

Getting to this gig has consumed me for the last couple of months, but was definitely worth it. I could not have been happier with outcome.

My plan was to have all the musicians that I collaborated with along the way perform with me.  To prepare, I held rehearsals at my house once a week with each person or group.  We rehearsed almost every week for 7 or 8 weeks prior to the show.  Aside from a full time day job, the rehearsals kept me busy 3 nights a week and I gigged almost every Friday night.  I committed any remaining time I could find to practice and to honing the songs that I already knew or the songs that I was learning with the other participating musicians – I didn’t take the time to learn any new songs during this time, I just wanted to focus the 52nd gig.

Following are the musicians that performed:

Tom Cocozzoli – song-writer, guitarist and former leader of the band Gossip In The Forest

Chis Hillabrand — guitarist who has performed with several bands including Chasin’ God and the Mike Espy Band

Tom Moore – Tim’s longtime friend and musician

Rachel Rayl – a 16 year old inspiring singer and song-writer from Grand Ledge

I was hoping to get Chip Christy to perform with me as well, he has been extremely busy with projects of his own.  As I wrote about in some of my earliest commentaries, chip was very instrumental in providing opportunities for me to play very early on.

The Lesson Learned:

Ahhhh…. the lesson learned,

There have been many, as I have written about in my prior commentaries.

It would be better to say that I basically reinforced what I already knew which is the more you do something the better you will get at it or at least, get better at doing “it”.  For me “it” is getting up in front of people and performing.  As I mentioned in my bio and a few my early commentaries, my shyness, insecurity or whatever you want to call it was crippling me from pursuing a lifelong passion. Music has always brought me so much joy.  It has been so powerful in my life. I’ve always wanted to be that guy who sits on that stool or stands up front, who sings a song that delivers that feeling or emotion that music has always done for me. Now I can do this or least be in position to do attempt to deliver it.

I’m sure I will still get a case of the butterflies from time to time but I would say that through this project I have conquered my fears.

The Music:

A lot of friends told me that they planned on arriving at least an hour or more early to make sure they could get seats.  Knowing this, I knew as soon as I arrived I would be busy greeting people and setting up my equipment would be next to impossible. So I went to the Log Jam earlier in the day to set up and check the sound. This plan definitely paid off.

I started off the show talking a bit about my 52 gigs journey and thanking everyone for coming out.  Next I sang a couple of songs myself to get thing rolling before bring on the other performers.

I thought the sound was great.  I had my digital recorder plugged directly into my mixer to capture the sound live without all the noise from the audience.  It worked excellent when I remembered to turn it on which was only on about 3 songs.

I’ve posted a few videos and pictures from the night.  The three videos of Rachel and I are dubbed with digital audio from my mixer.  The other are shot with a regular video recorder.

What’s next?

I definitely want to do some more songs with Rachel if she is willing. I really enjoyed singing with accompanying her. She brings a very uplifting spirit to the table. She has a very distinct sound and style. I’m sure she can go a long way if she chooses.

Depending on Chris’ schedule, we will probably continue to play and perform together from time to time.

If I decide to take it to the next level I’ll need to put out a CD with original music then dive into the singer song writer world.  From what I have learned so far, the singer song writer world is a whole another adventure and a huge time commitment.  These guys and gals work hard.  They are on the road a lot singing where and when ever the can and in a lot of cases for free. I’ll have to think about this for a while.  I don’t think I’m ready to give up my summers on the lake yet.

You may or may not have noticed the new page recently added to this site called Interviews.  These are interviews that I have conducted via email with other solo performers.  To stay true to the intent of this site, I am only interviewing sole performers in hopes that their insight and experience that they share will help out others doing what we do. This process of collaborating with the interviewees has been a lot of fun. I’m going to keep this going in hopes of getting at least 10 interview per state.

Special thanks to:


•             My #1 fan, my wife Kim

•             All of my friends and family.  There are to many of you to list.  You have all been so instrumental in helping me meet this goal. Thank you for all the kind support, words of encouragement, gigs, parties, decorations, laughs, surprises – everything!!!!

•             Everybody that has sighed up to receive the 52 gigs newsletters. I have met many of you and look forward to meeting those that I have not yet had the opportunity to meet. I will keep sending the newsletter out from time to time to keep you all posted on the interviews and whatever else I’m doing musically. Thanks for all you support.

•             Chris, owner of the Log Jam and everybody how has hosted a gig.

•             Fellow musicians and supporters – keep on rockin’


A little about the art-work (guitar) I’m holding in the picture in the front page of this blog site.  The artist is my wife.  The medium is glass and the process is called fusing or fused glass art.  I absolutely love this piece that she made for me, will cherish it forever.

Her work is currently represented at the Kubiak Gallery in Douglas /Saugatuck MI and the Gallery 1212 in (Old Town) Lansing MI.

You can also see her work and contact her through her web site at www.KimHeenan.com